Strategy & Advocacy Meeting
Vishwa Yuvak Kendra, New Delhi, 18 November 2014
The strategy and advocacy meeting focussed on some of the key issues of bonded labourers. There were discussion on labour market in brick kiln and how it continues to operate through debt bondage. The needs of workers in the brick kilns who are from the marginalised section, vulnerable and unaware of the their rights was brought out. The vulnerability of a worker once he takes loan and comes under the control of thekedar or middleman, wage as an instrument of control, denial of workplace rights and decent work conditions were among the other issues discussed. it was also discussed that the government working within the framework of identification, release and rehabilitation provided by the BLSAA 1976 has proved unsuccessful in curbing the occurrences of bondage. The meeting emphasised that though there is the Protocol on Forced labour 2014, there is a need to ensure that in India rights of workers are protected. There needs to put in place a national policy or plan of action to eliminate forced labour while ensuring that victims have full access to legal remedies including compensation. Human rights at workplace and the basic social security guarantees have to be enforced. Given that the brick kiln industry is a major partner in the construction book that is taking place in India, it becomes the responsibility of the government to ensure that rights of workers are not compromised. The results of this exercise were that there was a consensus among key partner organisations and other stakeholders attending the meeting on a draft charter of demands and to launch an internet based campaign from December 10, 2014 to January 26, 2015. CEC circulated the Draft charter of demands among the partner organisations for their comments, suggestions and approval.